August 2000

David Rigsbee


David Rigsbee David Rigsbee's most recent books are Trailers (University Press of Virginia, 1996) and A Skeptic's Notebook: Longer Poems (St. Andrews, 1996). His work has appeared in American Poetry Review, New Yorker, Iowa Review, Southern Review, Georgia Review, and Ohio Review
Frescoes Underground    Click to hear in real audio

Barely painted, anonymous,
these saints merely beam
from their haloes like old egg yolks
making their peace with white.
Stone overpowers sound too.
The air, though cool, is inert. This
is what Dante meant, the paralysis
that sets in, especially above ground
where we trifle with brick
and play with rock, running a finger
erotically across a marble vein.
The saints still gesture, though
without pressure. Street level is above
eye-level now. I feel like a pimpernel
seen once from an ambulatory.
Then hairline cracks mapping their faces,
like veins in an old woman’s thighs,
secure their kinship with earth.



Terra Cotta    Click to hear in real audio

The little bird outpaced the bigger bird
and it seemed for a minute
it would turn and attack.
But summer was well under way
and aerials reclaimed the airspace.
This life—half arboreal, half slab—
waits to give eyes what is denied
to bodies: a place to land that has
no memory of the pain of landing.
Terra cotta softens balconies’ iron.
Stucco turns sunlight decorative,
a series of hues that funnel eyesight
to open doorways where shadows
take over the domestic space
in the name and shape of light.



David Rigsbee: Poetry
Copyright � 2000 The Cortland Review Issue 12The Cortland Review